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Manila Folders and Arthritis

On "Justice"

“She’s an asshole.” Pete said, handing him a stack of manila folders. “Tell me exactly where she’s lying in her deposition. Cite where and with whose story it diverges.”

“Your -our- client?” Greg asked. His face fell, reading which client he was referring to.

“Yep,” Pete said over his shoulder as he made his way back to his scattered, overflowing desk, shifting his weight, avoiding too much pressure on his achy knees. 

He sat with a relieved grunt. “She’s a horrible person. She deserves what's coming to her. I need to know exactly how much she’s lied so the DA doesn’t hang us by our asses.”

Greg nodded shortly. He also shifted in his shoes. They were new and cheap, his first professional pair for his first desk job. He empathized with Pete’s painful gait, yet his pain wasn’t due to arthritis, rather just being young and poor.

He counted the folders as he made his way back to his own bare desk. Five witnesses. Adding Stacia’s deposition, that made it six times he had to read about this gruesome murder. 

A murder where Stacia had set up her own friend. Where she had sat on the lookout while she could hear the friend cry out for help, and turned up the music so no one could hear. Where she drove with said friend’s body in a trash can in the bed of her truck for four days. 

Greg took a deep breath.

Later that night, he set the post-its down and packed up the folders. He included the list of discrepancies for three of the five witnesses. And on top of that, a letter of resignation. Call him soft, but he firmly realized he did not want to spend his professional life with this subject matter. Playing Mock Trial in high school was one thing. That was debate, it was clean, and very removed from reality. These were real people. Real families, real pain. Disgusting acts brought on by unexpected people. He couldn’t imagine the cynicism and deep disappointment in humanity he’d feel after a career of this matter.

A few months later, and a few weeks into his new studies in computer engineering, Greg saw an article about Pete and Stacia. Mistrial. And Pete was held in contempt for failing to properly defend his client. This led to Pete retiring early. Greg smiled at that. He imagined Pete spending his days floating in his expansive pool, not ever having to read about murder and betrayal again unless he wanted to, and resting those achy knees. Greg toasted to Pete and their mutual departure from the justice system.


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